The army surplus store’s are offered by this season designers a contemporary take on. The return of this tried and true trend investigates by Sarah Young.
From the greatcoat and the bomber to epaulettes and combat boots, uniform dressing has invaded the wardrobe of many a man, so much so that it has become a timeless classic. It’s not just reserved for average Joes either with designers making a compelling case for upmarket military garb season after season. To identify military style as a trend is hardly groundbreaking but what is important to glean from its recurrence is its liberation from fleeting fad to perennial staple. At Dries Van Noten over-the-top embroidery and embellishment offered a gilded twist to regimental garb while at Burberry the greatcoat took center stage swathed in golden frogging. So too McQueen jumped on board with double-breasted suiting and hussar jackets with crisp, strong shoulders and decorated with rope trim for a subversive take on the military uniform.This time round there was an air of army inspired references in several collections and of course, military’s archetypal codes of dry, earthy tones stood their ground making up the bulk of Astrid Andersen and Craig Green’s autumn/winter offerings. Bomber jackets, parkas and ankle-skimming greatcoats hit the front line too but what’s different about much of the outerwear this season is that it seems to have evaded the sartorial style of the army surplus store in favour of 18th century regalia.
As a rule, when it comes to everyday military dressing it’s best to opt for more function and leave the flounce on the runway. With its ability to transcend seasons this is a trend well worth investing in with the promise that any exorbitant buys will get more than one airing but make sure you opt for a piece that will see you beyond the latest style whim. An easy entry into the trend is to go green; whether it’s a coat, a chunky knit or a pair of dark-green trousers, this army inspired colour way lets you buy into it without looking as though you’ve even tried to make an effort. Otherwise, opting for slightly boxy, resolutely masculine fits that are teeming pockets is a smart and tasteful way to blend utility with your own personal style.